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How To Prevent Short Term Health Insurance Buyers From Gaming The System

Image: MNgilen under CC 3.0

With reform beginning to take effect, subsidized guaranteed issue insurance for people with pre-existing conditions is set to become available. Unfortunately, there is a serious concern: the issue of people gaming the system.

In some places, such as Massachusetts, people will buy short term health insurance when they are knowingly sick and cancel shortly after they receive treatment (under one year later). Insurers pay for their treatments, while receiving little in premiums for reimbursement. Therefore, the costs are passed onto steadily insured consumers.

The prevalence of this practice has skyrocketed over the past several years. Legislators are proposing several solutions, including an open-enrollment period that would allow individuals to buy temporary coverage solely during one or two months out of the year. There would be exceptions included for major life changes.

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